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Time to Make Way for the Monkey
Prepare to join in the celebrations for the Chinese New Year, as we bid farewell to the Sheep and welcome in the Year of the Monkey, which starts on 8 February.
The main festivities for Chinese New Year in London take place on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 February in Chinatown, Shaftesbury Avenue and Trafalgar Square, where live performances will be staged. There will be a range of traditional food and craft stalls, the streets will be decked with red lanterns, and the celebrations wouldn't be complete without the traditional Lion Dance.
The coming year is considered to be a good time to make changes to the well-worn routine, choose a new path, or take a few risks - Monkey's enthusiasm means that ambitious plans have a favourable chance of success. This is a good time to show initiative and versatility, seek out opportunities and reap the rewards.
Based on a combination of lunar and solar calendars, the date of Chinese New Year varies, falling between late January and mid-February. Each year is represented by one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, with the Monkey being 9th in the cycle.
The Monkey is smart and witty, with a charismatic personality, but can also be cunning and mischievous, like the popular character in Chinese literature and folklore, the Monkey King.
New Year's Eve is traditionally the time for an annual family reunion and celebration dinner. It is also customary to "spring clean" the house at the start of the year, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good luck. Red is the vibrant colour associated with Chinese New Year, when money is handed out in red paper envelopes.